Sunday, May 29, 2005

Diamonds or Pearls ?

Pearls and diamonds are two of the very finest gems and either would be a great gift. Basically, when purchasing pearls, one look for these 5 elements : size, lustre, surface, shape and color. Very large pearls, such as white South Sea or black Tahitian pearls are popular, but cost quite a bit more than the average size pearls. Meanwhile, when purchasing diamonds, look for the 5 C's : carat, cut, color, clarity and certificate (sometimes cost is also one consideration prior to purchase). Which to choose, diamonds or pearls? They say, 'Diamonds are a girl's best friend'. But, pearls are lovely and elegant, too.
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The art of pearl cultivation is a long and delicate process. Man had been trying to unlock the secret of the pearl's beauty as far back as 1000 BC, but it wasn't until the early 1900's that Kokichi Mikimoto (the Pearl King) successfully grew a pearl. Toba Bay and vicinity (Ise-Shima area of Mie Prefecture) is the birthplace of cultured pearls. A landscape blessed by the sea, the bay provides a serene view of little green islets arranged like stepping stones in the blue sea.
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The family-owned Ise pearl farm (above) supplies high-quality pearls - one of the largest pearl farm in Japan and has been cultivating fine pearls for more than 75 years.
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Surrounding Ise is the beautiful costal landscapes of Ise-Shima National Park (could have been better if not because of the gloomy weather).
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Next to the pearl islands is one of Japan's largest aquariums. Toba Aquarium contains more than 850 species of aquatic plants and animals. Above are the ferocious piranhas. How about some top-grade piranha sushi ?
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Northern of Mie Prefecture, one of the longest (8133 feet), tallest (306 feet) and fastest (95 mph) coasters in the world - Steel Dragon 2000 inside Nagashima Spaland can be a horrible experience.
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The grape vineyard - one of the most fascinating part of the journey in Mie, one can pick and eat all the grapes she wants (1000 yen for all you can eat !). Kobayashi-san was seen here demonstrating on how to eat a bunch of grapes.
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There are more to visit in Mie Prefecture. Being the most famous, Ise Jingu is the most sacred Shinto Shrine in Japan. To discover more about Mie, click here :

Back to the very first question, pearls or diamonds, which do you prefer ? Oh don't tell me pearl with DIAMONDS...


obachan said...

OK, I say diamonds with perls ;)
Well, actually my favorite gem is moonstone.
The landscape is so beautiful. It's amazing how still the water is in the bay.

Primrose said...

I like pearls but not the big chunky ones. Small-ish, irregular shaped pearl with a pink tint would have been perfect. :) But if asked to choose a gemstone, I would have gone for an emerald and if asked to choose a crystal/semi-precious stone, I would have gone for the peridot. Don't ask me why. They don't coincide with my birthstone, if you are wondering.

Anonymous said...

Ah...interesting topic. I LOVE jewelry so definately I would write a long reply to this.
I like sparkly stuff so I would definately choose diamond over pearl. I don't think I look good with pearls, I don't have the style or look to pull it off, well, maybe in 10 years time (Hah! If I have the money to buy both things!). You should ask, if they chose diamonds, would they prefer colourless or coloured diamonds? I would go for the colourless or blue diamonds. Oh, and the colourful history that goes with the famous diamonds in the world such as The Krupp, The Hope, The Koh-I-Noor, The Great Star of Africa, The Regent to name a few. Ah, to get my hands on those babies!
But I really rather prefer jewelry with less sparkly stuff/pearls/gemstones etc. Instead, a carefully, uniquely crafted silver/platinum/metal jewelry would be the best for me.
Ai Ling

zbjernak said...

the national park look great...

and the roller-coaster...looks scarry

i wouldnt dare to be in it..

emotionalistic said...

I like sparkly stuff too so i think you know what is my anwser to your question. However, i was fascinated by your story about pearls. Any story about diamonds to share??

arGlene said...

I prefer diamond mainly because it's my birthstone. Pearls are associated with tears here in the Philippines although I don't believe in the cliche that when you use pearls while still stingle, you'll have a life full of tears! Now that's SILLY!

Patrick Leong said...

thanks for all good comments. to find out more about birthstone, click here :

personally, I think I'd like blue sapphire. the ancient Persians believed that the earth rested on a big giant sapphire whose reflection gave the sky its color. legend has it that if a poisonous snake were put into a vessel along with a sapphire, the rays from the gem would kill it - therefore an antidote against poison. the gem was regarded as a symbol of truth, sincerity and constancy.

obachan : which color do you prefer ? I find that rainbow moonstones are quite attractive and can be used for lovely pendants.

Primrose : pearls do look good on you. but i am quite surprised that you have preference for those irregular shape ones. any reason ? peridot is indeed classy. according to astrologers, the wearer of peridot will enjoy happiness in marriage and the power of persuasive speech.

ailing : blue diamonds are very rare stones. now often called the titanic diamond - heart of the ocean. sure you dare to wear that on the street ? i personally think white gold can be quite fashionable (a substitute for the more expensive platinum). it looks terrific with a variety of skin. classy as well but some people are allergic to white gold (especially the cheap ones).

zbjernak : least we dont have to talk about gemstones. thanks for stopping by. yes. the coaster was indeed horrible. i had bad feeling after one ride. almost threw up..

emotionalistic : post about diamonds ? oh ... that I will leave it to my blog friend - ailing. i think i have enough of gemstones after this posting.

arglene : pearls associated to life full of tears ? why ? the Roman women wore pearls to bed so they could be reminded of their wealth immediately upon awakening. some people are allergic to gold, never yet known anybody who was allergic to DIAMONDS. perhaps men...

for his first marriage, Prince Charles presented Princess Diana with a blue sapphire engagement ring, but for his second trip down the aisle, he did with diamonds.

Primrose said...

I enjoy your replies. You seemed to be very knowledgable in many areas. *impressed*

I don't know why I like irregular shaped pearls though the pearl earrings I have (I only have one pair) is quite round. Cultivated pearls or natural pearls are normally not a perfect circle. So that could be a reason. Too perfect and it looks, uhm, fake?

I never knew that about peridot. I liked it because the shade of green is sometimes clear, sometimes murky. It's mysterious and that's the whole point.

My birthstone is indeed the blue sapphire and I totally agree with the legend. I have yet to find anything I like set in blue sapphires. Maybe because they looked dark, almost black and tend to make someone look a little more mature.

Lrong said...

Kobayashi san actually gulped down the whole bunch of grapes?

Patrick Leong said...

primrose : as you know, blue sapphires come in different hues from light blue to very rich dark blue. the more vivid colors are the most valuable. heat treatment (or thermal enhancement) can produce dramatic results. it is sometimes applied to improve color and clarity. meanwhile chemically modified sapphire (beryllium treatment) may have good brilliance but it's no longer a natural sapphire. kashmir sapphire (blue velvet) being the standard of quality against which all others are measured.

lrong : of course she did not cram the whole bunch of compact grapes into her mouth all at once (hehehe). we tried to eat as much grapes just to get our money worth - like we're snacking on grapes. burp ! 4 bunches the most - some sweet and others sour.

mrkiasu said...

Look at the roller coaster, have you ever tried it before? So scary lah. I don't think i will be daring enough to try.

Patrick Leong said...

mrkiasu : yes. no second time for me. i don't fancy these rides anymore. too old now ...

fish fish said...

kihkihkih!! someone says he is too "old".

Hmmm... can't say anything on gems, I'm not into that. No money, might no think bout it lor~

Btw, I salute by ur thinking of having Piranha as sashimi. Do you think in Japan got Piranha sushi or not? :P

Patrick Leong said...

fish fish : well, if they can make horse meat sushi (basashi), i dont see why not piranha sushi - an exotic treat for one's palate. Talk about brutal, piranha will feed just about anything. once my brazilian friend told me fried piranha is crunchy and sweet. wonder if she was kidding.